The Mickey Mouse Club is an American variety television show that aired intermittently from 1955 to 1996 and returned in 2017 to social media. Created by Walt Disney and produced by Walt Disney Productions, the program was first televised for three seasons, from 1955 to 1958, by ABC. This original run featured a regular but ever-changing cast of mostly teen performers. ABC broadcast reruns weekday afternoons during the 1958–1959 season, airing right after American Bandstand. The show was revived after its initial 1955–1959 run on ABC, first from 1977–1979 for first-run syndication, again from 1989–1996 as The All-New Mickey Mouse Club (also known to fans as MMC from 1993–1996) airing exclusively on cable television's The Disney Channel, then restarted in 2017 with the moniker Club Mickey Mouse airing exclusively on internet social media.
Mickey Mouse himself appeared in every show not only in vintage cartoons originally made for theatrical release but in opening, interstitial, and closing segments made especially for the show. In both the vintage cartoons and new animated segments, Mickey was voiced by his creator Walt Disney. (Disney had previously voiced the character theatrically from 1928 to 1947 before being replaced by sound effects artist Jimmy MacDonald.)
The first official theater-based Mickey Mouse Club began on January 11, 1930 at the Fox Dome Theater in Ocean Park, California, with sixty theaters hosting clubs by March 31. The Club released its first issue of the Official Bulletin of the Mickey Mouse Club on April 15, 1930. By 1932, the Club had 1 million members, and in 1933 its first British club opened at Darlington’s Arcade Cinema. In 1935, Disney began to phase out the club.
The Mickey Mouse Club was hosted by Jimmie Dodd, a songwriter and the Head Mouseketeer, who provided leadership both on and off screen. In addition to his other contributions, he often provided short segments encouraging young viewers to make the right moral choices. These little homilies became known as "Doddisms". Roy Williams, a staff artist at Disney, also appeared in the show as the Big Mouseketeer. Roy suggested the Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears worn by the cast members, which he helped create, along with Chuck Keehne, Hal Adelquist, and Bill Walsh.
The main cast members were called Mouseketeers, and they performed in a variety of musical and dance numbers, as well as some informational segments. The most popular of the Mouseketeers comprised the so-called Red Team, who were kept under contract for the entire run of the show (1955-1959), consisted of the following: